Redistricting overhaul in Pa. poised to fail as hundreds of amendments added

Pennsylvania House Majority Leader Dave Reed, an advocate for redistricting reform, is disappointed by the onslaught of new amendments. (AP file photo)

Pennsylvania House Majority Leader Dave Reed, an advocate for redistricting reform, is disappointed by the onslaught of new amendments. (AP file photo)

Efforts to overhaul Pennsylvania’s redistricting process are faltering.

Earlier this month, the legislature looked like it might be on track to approve a sweeping plan to establish a citizen’s commission to draw the maps — plus change how Pennsylvania elects judges.

It passed the Senate, but the House never seemed to find any consensus on how to approach the issue.

Now House Majority Leader Dave Reed, R-Indiana, who supports an overhaul, says the bill has been buried under hundreds of amendments filed this week.

“I knew there would be some amendments,” he said. “I never, in my wildest dreams, would think folks would come up with 700-some amendments. It’s disappointing, in my mind.”

The amendments piled up quickly — ballooning from six Thursday morning to hundreds Friday.

Over the past two months, Reed has insisted that enough lawmakers are unhappy with the redistricting process that they might reach consensus.

But he acknowledged, they haven’t gotten there.

“It seems there are certain individuals who don’t want to see this process move forward,” he said.

It’s not uncommon for lawmakers to use amendment-overload to bury contentious bills.

Reed expressed optimism the measure might get revived eventually. But it looks unlikely to happen in time for changes to take effect before the next redistricting process in 2021.

A bill would have to pass by July 6 for that to happen.

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